Thriller: A Cruel Picture (1973) Poster

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Torment plus violence equals up to fierce revenge
Camera Obscura10 October 2006
THRILLER: THEY CALL HER ONE EYE (Bo Arne Vibenius - Sweden 1974).

This is pretty dark and distressing stuff. Apparently Sweden does have some other cinematic export products besides Ingmar Bergman and Bo Widerberg. This strange and quite original exploitation gem by Bo Arne Vibenius recently got a little more attention (if only a little) because of Quentin Tarantino, who paid homage to this film with KILL BILL and called it "the roughest revenge picture ever made". For an exploitation-flick, it's not that rough at all, but it definitely has some very potent scenes but nothing really gory, and most of all, the blood and the fighting look so deliciously fake, I doubt anyone could take it as very disturbing. Most of the time, nothing really happens at all, but there's a certain atmosphere that makes the film strangely compelling.

A young girl (Christina Lindberg) is growing up mute after a childhood sexual assault and spends years working on a remote farm. After missing the bus one day, she is picked up by a seedy well-dressed man who kidnaps the girl, gets her addicted to heroine, cuts her left-eye out, and forces her into slavery and prostitution. Any other girl would give in, but not this one. She seeks vengeance, and, fortunately, has the weekends off, so she can learn martial arts, race-driving and military weaponry.

In some earlier comments I noticed people were put off by some hardcore pornography, which there was in the earlier DVD-release under the title THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE. Distributor Synapse decided to release the tamer, but still quite brutal, American version THRILLER: THEY CALL HER ONE EYE, which is the only version I have seen. I cannot imagine hardcore pornography would improve the film, so I suggest watching this "softer" version instead.

This is not a film for those who want fast-paced action, snappy dialog or basic storytelling and since the main character is a mute girl who doesn't have a single line in the entire film, it does require some patience. And don't expect any ingenious fight scenes because the girl learned martial arts. The fight scenes are filmed in extreme slow-motion, quite tedious. The film also bares distinction in having a very strange sound mix by Ralph Lundsten, who composed a very memorable music score that one distinctly associates with this film, quite unique. Needless to say, the film was made on a shoestring, but Vibenius does show cinematic flair in the use of locations (on Öland) and some truly magnificent shots. What about that shot with the camera on top of a police car between the two sirens? Sheer beauty!

Hard to compare this film to anything I've seen. Well, it's a Swedish revenge-flick, so how many of these are there? It's unlike anything made before at the time (and up till now, supposedly). A film with some - mostly budget-related - shortcomings, but by any means, a genuine original.

Camera Obscura --- 7/10
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Mesmerizing if not perfect
Blaise_B25 October 2002
After hearing all the hype about this film...the latest notorious Eurotrash cult film making the rounds...has to be seen to be and violence, sex and violence, etc., I finally got hold of a copy of it and was almost afraid that with all the anticipation I'd just be disappointed. To add to that, the copy I got was of crappy quality as I discovered when I started watching it--the opening credits were so blurry I couldn't read them--and the whole affair started to look like nothing more than the chore necessary to get the idea of finally seeing this film out of my head.

All this apprehension disappeared quickly as I got sucked into this simple yet very engaging story. We all know it's about a chick with one eye who picks up a shotgun and exacts revenge on her abusers, another entry into a sub-genre that needs no introduction, and that's what I expected, just another entry into this sub-genre with maybe enough explicit footage to give it the aforementioned notoriety, which alone does not a good film make. What I didn't expect was the atmosphere, the occasional insight (witness an early semi-rape scene involving rape-by-camera), the genuinely creepy close-ups of leering, panting men and all the other quirks that make this such a neat little flick. There is a lot of experimental sort of storytelling in this movie, as I guess was the style of the time (early seventies), and some of it is neat and some of it is downright annoying. But the overall effect, aided in no small part by the music, and aided also by the main character's inability to speak (had to have influenced Ms. .45, which came later) as well as the fact that I don't speak Swedish and this film is neither dubbed nor subtitled, is one of being underwater in a very polluted river. And that seems perfectly appropriate, since figuratively that's the story of the protagonist's life.

The close-up hardcore porn footage is used to better effect than I've ever seen such footage used, as it is supposed to be disturbing and sickening (anyone who thinks about impersonal images like that when they think about real sex, the good kind, has got to be a few beers short of a case). However, it is somewhat over-used. There are some good scenes of drawn-out, methodical drug-administering, shotgun-sawing, martial arts training, etc. that give the film, at times, an edge of realism. This realism is shattered, however, by scenes of cars exploding at the slightest impact and the nails-on-a-chalkboard slo-mo shooting scenes (not just slo-mo, sloooooooooo moooooooooo). Comparing this to Peckinpah is like comparing Green Day to the Stooges.

However, the entire film was redeemed for me by the last couple of scene of her walking, all clad in black with her eyepatch and shotgun, amidst some shacks by a pier was straight out of a very dark western. The whole look of the film, especially the outdoor footage, is stark and desolate. Makes me want to go to Sweden. I was not let down by the last killing...the guy deserved that and's a testament to the sort of infectuous quality of this film and the surprising abilities of porn star Christina Lindberg that I cared that much and even savored what happens to this guy. I've never actually savored the film re-enactment of the torture of a human being before seeing this film. More important than that, though, were the stark landscapes and windy, desolate atmosphere of the whole last sequence. "One-eye"'s cold-as-ice serenity as she sits and waits for her macabre plan to take effect is more satisfying than any of what she's waiting for.

All this stark imagery, simplicity and symbolism, I think, makes this film more of a subversive feminist allegory than any other of its type that I've seen; because it is at times almost mythic, it doesn't have to be taken literally. It doesn't have to be about pimps kidnapping girls and force-feeding them drugs, it doesnt have to be about shot guns. It does make me wonder how Christina Lindberg felt about the film, and what she did after.

One more thing: does a black-leather-clad, shotgun toting avenger driving around in a cop car through barren countryside remind you of anything?

Definitely check this out if you're not squeemish.
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compelling fable of abuse and revenge
fertilecelluloid24 December 2004
The gorgeous nymph Christina Lindberg is a mute woman who is abducted, drugged and forced into sexual servitude by a slick criminal.

Notable for its hardcore sex sequences which, in my humble opinion, lend great gravity to Lindberg's unfortunate personal situation, this revenge drama has a measured, moderate pace and is quite compelling.

Titled THEY CALL HER ONE-EYE in some markets because our heroine does get her eye poked out by her captor, the film has rarely been seen uncut until the advent of Synapse Films' recent DVD.

Some scribes have complained that the hardcore sexual material ruins the film. I don't see any basis for this complaint. The hardcore honestly portrays the level of abuse Lindberg receives.

The revenge section of THRILLER is labored and stylized. There's no clear catharsis and there's no joy for the avenging angel.

Director Bo A Vebenius also wrote and produced.

Though called "the roughest revenge movie ever made" by Quentin Tarantino, it is not particularly rough compared to fare such as FORCED ENTRY, CAPTURED FOR SEX 2 or ZOOM UP: RAPE SITE.

It is an art-house revenge pic that is well worth seeing. I'm not sure I'd want to re-see it regularly, though. It does runs slow.
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Very Good Rape/Revenge Film
EVOL66615 September 2005
THRILLER is a very well done rape/revenge film in the same vein as LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT or I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. The storyline is different but the results are the same...

Girl is raped as a child which causes her to be mute. She is picked up by a slick-talking guy and taken out for dinner and drinks. Back at his house, he drugs her and shoots her up with heroin for several days, so by the time he allows her to wake up out of her heroin-stupor, she is an addict. At that point she is turned-out as a prostitute and given some cash and drugs as "payment". She is given some free time to herself, where she uses the money earned to take karate,shooting, and driving classes. Needless to say, when she becomes proficient enough in these disciplines, she uses her newly honed skills to go after those that did her wrong...

Christina Lindberg is excellent as the beautiful and seemingly innocent looking mute girl. She is a real pleasure to look at, and the fact that she's naked through a good portion of the film doesn't hurt either. There is some "controversy" surrounding this film due to a couple of hardcore sex scenes (obviously not Ms. Lindberg, unfortunately...) that appear to be cut from a bad European porno. The scenes are not necessary for the film but were obviously added to heighten the shock value of the film overall. Other than those few scenes, and the famous scalpel-in-the-eye scene, the violence in THRILLER is relatively tame by exploitation/horror standards. Overall a really good film, if you are into the rape/revenge genre - I think it's always cool to see a strong, sexy, female lead who kicks ass, one of the reasons that I gravitate toward this type of film. The eyeball and sex scenes may be a little much for the casual movie-goer, more "extreme" fans should like this one. Recommended...8.5 out of 10

NOTE: Synapse films now has a "Vengeance" addition in a yellow box (original cover is red) that is the same film minus the XXX scenes.
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Gritty Swedish revenge thriller.
HumanoidOfFlesh17 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Girls are kidnapped by a sadistic pimp,turned into heroin addicts and dumped into a brothel,there to suffer hideous mistreatment in the hands of sweating,overweight customers.A mute girl Madeleine(Christina Lindberg),escapes and finally exterminates her tormentors with a sawed-off shotgun."Thriller:A Cruel Picture" is a notorious Swedish exploitation film which has a strange,almost dreamy feeling.The killings are long and bloody,so I was enthralled.The use of extreme slow motion during death scenes is certainly impressive.Christina Lindberg is simply excellent as a mute girl who becomes a killing machine.The most controversial aspect about "Thriller:A Cruel Picture",aside from the bloody violence,is the presence of several ugly hard-core sex scenes that show the girl's prostitution work in graphic detail.So if you are a fan of grindhouse exploitation stuff give this film a look.Check out also "Breaking Point" by Bo Arne Vibenius which is even more pornographic and demented.7 out of 10.
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Madeline Marauds!
Spikeopath13 March 2016
Exploitation cinema in all its glory, or not, depending on your own personal peccadilloes! Directed, written and produced by Bo Arne Vibenius, Thriller - en grym film (AKA: They Call Her One Eye) is an infamous picture for a number of reasons, reasons that would take a whole page to write about. So use your mouse and google it because this review isn't interested in dabbling in such fare.

Plot sees a young Madeline raped by a paedophile and rendered mute by the experience. Into early adulthood and Madeline (played superbly by soft core porn starlet Christinia Lindberg) unwisely takes up the offer of a lift from the odious Tony (Heinz Hopf). Pretty soon she's addicted to heroin and working as a prostitute. However, Madeline is biding her time, for she has plans, plans that spell doom for all her abusers.

Does this film have artistic merit? Absolutely! In fact if you take out the inserted pornographic close-ups, which are pointless since we already know what Madeline is going through (a supposed marketing tool of the era apparently...) then this is a kick-ass film. It's a two parter, where the first half shows all of Madeline's misery, with sexual disturbance and body horror, then we switch to Madeline's fight back, where we get one of the coolest anti-heroines of 70s exploitation. She's sporting an eye patch, a glorious black trench coat, and weapons, oh yes! There are weapons, hands, guns and cars, oh my! It's here where Vibenius asks the question about justifiable revenge, whilst the super slow-mo approach to the violence will either be viewed as indulgent or classy (I'm with the latter camp).

It is what it is, grungy and grimy, operating in a specialist niche of cinema, but worthy in that it didn't conform, and it has proved influential. It's just not a date movie or something to watch with you mom! Right, I'm off for a bath. 7/10
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Thriller Or: Revenge Of The Ginger Cyclops!
fandangonoir21 February 2015
The 1973 violent Swedish revenge film Thriller: A Cruel Picture, also known as They Call Her One Eye, greatly influenced Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill and you can see why even with only one eye.

The film has rather racy full-on penetration sex scenes, which were apparently popular at the time, done by body doubles, they actually work and match well intercut with the real actors performing simulated sex in something other than the usual dull missionary position movie sex scenes.

It's a quiet film with little or no score, set in a Swedish small town with perhaps the world's most ineffective police force and most unobservant neighbors ever, pay no attention to that shotgun killing across the road.

Gaps in logic galore in the story of an innocent young ginger girl left mute by a childhood rape who becomes addicted to heroin by a vicious pimp and enslaved into prostitution before honing her skills in hand-to-hand combat, guns and stunt driving before at long last taking her bloody revenge.

Ridiculous yet one of the better cult films I've seen.
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Slow, effective, but probably unrepeatable
FilmFlaneur3 February 2005
Vengeance, or so the saying goes, is a dish best served cold. This film certainly exemplifies this maxim, and in the process comes across as if Bergman had done Deathwish. (Thriller's director had actually worked as on Persona as an assistant, and indeed some of the Nordic glumness here reminds one of the greater director) Its one of those titles which, long unavailable to the interested viewer, provokes a huge amount of curiosity and its arrival on DVD with some useful extras, is to be welcomed. It also has the cool cachet of a recommendation by Quentin Tarantino, who for purposes of reference duly inserted a one-eyed assassin of his own into Kill Bill.

Seen today Thriller remains a striking film, even much of the shock value has evaporated - apart from the hard core sequences as the heroine, by now a unwilling heroine addict, is abused and degraded. These moments were a principal reason for the film's truncation for the States and elsewhere, even though now they seem part and parcel of the message, reinforcing the intimate distress of what is being done. In fact apart from the opening and discreetly filmed child rape, as well as the assault on Madeline's eyeball about a third of the way in, there's hardly much action at all - and which when it does appear, given director Vibenius' infatuation with slow-mo violence (interesting at first, avant garde when continued, a tad tedious when it carries on) tends to slow matters down considerably. Much of the fighting is done in this same manner, and while the drawn out bullet ballets piercing shirts lead to certain fascination, the technique also shows up the cheap special effects on offer, or distractingly emphasises the illogicality of bodies recoiling *into* bullets and actors reacting too slowly to the impact. But whether deliberately or not such trick effects distance the viewer from the emotions of events; instead the mechanics of retaliation and murder are drawn out in almost fetishistic fashion, just as Madeline will savour coldly the extended demise of Tony in the closing scenes.

On the plus side the deliberate nature of it all, and the slow build up to Madeline's revenge, gives the audience ample time to side with the central character and contemplate the stages of her increasing torment. And during the wait, her enforced silence communicates far more than acres of embittered dialogue might have. The result is a degree of audience sympathy that's quite a way from the usual exploitation product, and by virtue of the fact that sometimes less means more, accumulates considerably more dignity for the victim along the way. There's still plenty of 70's cheesy decor on show (Madeline's principal abuser and abductor, Tony, in particular recalls a sleazy Jason King) but the film is distinguished by its refusal to hurry and draws out the angst suffered by the main character with quiet understatement, an effective process which gets under the skin.

Its a film worth seeing for this rather unique flavour; whether or not it will repay repeated viewings is less certain as, apart from Christine Lindberg's stoic performance, non of the other actors make much of an impression. Director Vibernius, who apparently took on this production to pay for the flop of his last, only made one more film after this, the even more exploitative Breaking Point. In Thriller, where perhaps he succeeded for the only time in creating a near art house style for grind house subject matter, he also appears as a hot dog salesman.
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woulda been a lot better without the porn inserts
movieman_kev12 November 2004
After being sexually molested as a small child, Frigga (the beautiful Christina Lindberg) becomes mute. Fast forward about 15 years, and after missing a bus to go to her therapy she accepts a ride from a shady character. Before long she's reduced to being a heroin addict with one eye (courtesy of her new pimp when she claws the face of her first trick). After a montage of her getting trained in guns, karate and driving as well as some ill-advised hardcore porn shots, she gets her revenge.

Let's start with what I liked about this film. Christina Linberg is very appealing, the ending is pretty damn good and i DID enjoy the film overall. What I din't like about the movie is those hard-core porn inserts which detract from the flow of the film and were NOT needed, the fact that EVERY fight was in sllllllllllllllloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwww motion bored me to no end, Despina Tomazani looked like a post-op transvestite as the lesbian trick, that upset me. But as I said all in all a solid exploitation film.

My Grade: B-

Synapse DVD Extras: TV spot; Theatrical trailer; "Thriller" trailer; double-bill trailer for "Hooker's Revenge (the reissue title for this film) and "Photographer's Models" ( the nonsensical reissue title of "House of Whipcord"); some outtakes; a few photo montages; a "story in pictures" segment that runs by at lightning speed; and cast and crew filmographies
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'Special' in more than one way
stamper23 April 2005
Thriller is not your average film. It wasn't in 1974 and it isn't in 2005 (31 years later). I must say, that I find it hard to describe the film, although the plot is relatively simple. What makes it difficult to describe this film is the way it is presented. First of all, despite not being an adult film, there are a hand full of penetration scenes which neither arouse nor sicken, which are thus basically useless for the plot or entertainment (if ANY elaborate penetration-scene can actually add something to ANY film is another question). On the other side though, this there is little action in this one to qualify as an action film and I must admit that most action scenes are badly executed (the spontaneous combustion of cars being one example). The exception to this is the hand-combat scene at the docks, which is excellent. The shoot-outs on the other hand however are at times excruciatingly long and useless. On top of that, the film also suffers a bit from the lack of dialog, although I must honestly say, that the acting (especially by Christina Lindberg) was of such quality that you didn't feel like turning the film off (which is strange for an adult film IF this qualifies as one).

The film has other qualities as well though. I was especially baffled by the quality of the special effects and in some way I feel that the film actually deserves a spot in movie history. Despite being somewhat slow and really not action-packed, I feel that this film among the first female-lead action film ever made. I know credit is often given to Mrs. Weaver and Mr.Scott for that (Alien), but I think this one might be in for the race, don't you? Of course there are other films in that race as well, like Coffy, Foxy Brown and perhaps Cleopatra Jones, which I haven't seen, but this one ranks right up there as a female version of Death Wish. That fact alone and the fact that this is a cheap, slightly pornographic Swedish film make this one special - or maybe just a rarity. I just know what it certainly isn't, a must-see.

6,25 out of 10 (with a 6 given upon voting)

post scriptum: this film isn't cruel in any kind of way and really doesn't warrant a 20 minute cut to receive an R rating. The adult parts didn't last that long did they? If you're talking blood, Reservoir Dogs is much crueler if you ask me.
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Poke Your Girlfriends Eye Out and She Just Might Look This Cool!
RicoJnr22 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I love Rape Revenge films, call me sick, call me twisted, but there's something about them that just works. It might be the taboo subject or the fact that its the rare opportunity to see a decent strong woman on screen. (I'm not saying they have to be raped to be strong, but there is always that edge to these flicks).

They Call Her One Eye is no exception. I have managed, after several years of trying, to track down a fully uncut copy complete with the rather pointless hardcore inserts. For those of you who are interested it is not the actress, Christina Lindberg, in the hardcore scenes it was a random couple that was ordered from a lab!! The director didn't even shoot them, how weird is that? Having said that, Lindberg is very hot and I'm definitely digging the eye patch thing!

Here is the plot in basic terms ***contains spoilers***

. Girl goes to park . Raped by blood dribbling tramp . Loses voice . Girl grows up . Girl leaves home . Offered lift by creepy fella . Accepts lift, goes back to his place and gets drugged . Wakes up and gets drugged some more . She is now addicted to heroine and the creepy fella turns out to be a pimp . He forces her into prostitution . Atttacks the first man that comes to see her . Creepy fella takes her eye . She's raped several times by 'clients' . Creepy fella feeds habit . She learns martial arts, gun shooting and driving . Bides her time . Goes ape s**t in an orgy of violence, killing all her previous clients and finally strangling the creepy fella with a donkey!

This film is pretty crazy, but there are some outstanding scenes. The gouging of the eye (in true Fulci style) is sickeningly realistic and there is a big rumour that a real corpse was used for the shot. Robin Bougie in Cinema Sewer 15 asked the question of Bo Arne Vibenius and he flatly refused to answer!!?? Either way, it definitely worked.

The other notable moments for me where a chase scene in which Lindberg tries to escape the clutches of her pimp. He just drives along behind her as she plods along slowly running out of steam. He follows her into a park, driving along footpaths, before she falls into a pile of autumn leaves. The camera works well here, following her viewpoint we are left disorientated by the effect. He finally drags her back into the car in broad day light and not one person offers their help?

Towards the end of the film after she has killed a couple of hired thugs she is accosted by the police. Now I say police, but they appear to be wearing Thunderbirds suits???? No matter, they get their butts handed to them in glorious euro-trash slow mo.

The final scene of her tying the pimp by his neck to a horse and dragging him away is an unforgettable image. It really works.

There is a lot of gaff aspects to this film and it does have the usual budget constraints, but for a film of this era it is undeniably effective. I know Tarantino has banged on about this film a lot and at times it just about lives up to his love. However, don't go to this expecting easy viewing or the usual slickness of American productions, this is awkward, weird film making at it's very best.

They call her One Eye, I call it well worth a watch!
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A revenge film that sizzles with energy
DVD_Connoisseur31 December 2006
When I first saw the title of "Thriller: A Cruel Picture" (aka "They Call Her One Eye"), I was hooked. What a title for a movie! The protracted wait for the release, and the hype surrounding the film's influence on Quentin Tarantino, simply added to my desire to view this cult classic.

Well, when I settled down to watch the film, it managed to do something very few movies surpassed my expectations.

From the very start, this little gem sparkled with a seedy charm that I took to my heart. If Tarantino had been born a decade earlier in Sweden, this would be the kind of film you'd expect him to be making. (Interestingly, this film was actually banned in its home country and was heavily cut on its release in most overseas territories.) As a revenge film, "Thriller" sizzles with energy. It has a great pace and the only time the film stumbles is during the short porn edits (so obviously filmed with different actors that the viewer's attention is displaced). These somehow made me feel like a naughty schoolboy watching an illicit dodgy video! Now, don't get me wrong. I don't have any objections to porn (my handle should perhaps be "Porn Connoisseur"), but somebody taking their Captain Picard up to warp speed and shoving it into a normal movie just doesn't work. Still, it added to that "I ain't going to find this on the shelf in my UK HMV"-feeling which always gives me a warm, perverse buzz.

I digress. The movie is beautifully shot, the delightful Christina Lindberg is splendid, the cast is suitably sordid and the music has to be heard to be believed. It ain't magical but it's memorable.

There are some great set pieces and one of the most unexpected car treats I've ever had the pleasure of watching.

As a DVD, Synapse have delivered the ultimate version of this film. God knows how long they took to source the various elements, etc. for this release but the result is gobsmacking.

A superb exploitation movie and well worth tracking down.
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Obvious Inspiration for 'Kill Bill'
chow91330 October 2013
The opening credits in English read, 'Thriller: A Cruel Picture' not whatever nonsense IMDb chooses as its title.

If there was ever one single film Quinton Tarantino based his 'Kill Bill' series on, it was this.

There is VERY little dialogue. The Swedish film doesn't even need subtitles. The entire story is told through character actions which involve slow paced scenes showing in detail simple actions like walking from one place to another without any musical score.

It's also important to note that the American DVD release is the "Vengeance Edition" which I suspect is the censored version. The version I watch was on YouTube which includes HARD CORE porn scenes! How "hard core?" Well, it not only shows real intercourse but actual ejaculation. Amazing the stuff they allow on YouTube without any warning.

Just to be clear, this isn't a porn film.

The plot: After being raped by a homeless man as a child Madeline is left mute and lives on a farm with her elderly parents.

She's picked up by a scumbag whom kidnaps her and gets her addicted to heroine to force her to prostitute.

At first Madeline resists the customers and her pimp gouges out one of her eyes as punishment. Won't that harm his investment in her earnings? Madeline eventually saves up thousands of dollars in tips and spends all her spare time learning martial arts, to shoot, and to race car drive. All this is a buildup to her final fury of hunting down her pimp and all her clients with a sawed off shotgun. Each of the shooting deaths are shown in extreme slow motion.

As I said, all of this is explained through actions with hardly any dialogue at all.

The similarities between this and 'Kill Bill' are overwhelming.

It's good film making for Giallo and Euro-grindhouse fans.

Just be prepared that the film isn't anything more than the brief plot I described and each scene is very slow moving.
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Wonderfully Exploitive and fun!
Warning: Spoilers
"Thriller" is a classic example of a '70s sexploitation film. It stars famed Swedish sex kitten Christina Lindberg, who stared in many other such films. This film is similar to my previous review of "I Spit on Your Grave" in that is a rape revenge thriller.

Lindberg's character of Frigga is molested as a little girl and from then on never speaks. Even throughout the movie as she is grown she never says a word. One day she misses her bus and is offered a ride from a slick city guy in a nice car named Tony and she takes it. Mental note: never miss your bus! Of course Tony has some pretty awful things in store for Frigga. Over the course of about a week she is beaten and addicted to heroin against her will. She is one of many girls that are being held by Tony in a sex slavery business. After Frigga's (now named Madeleine) first client is a disaster, Tony gouges her eye out with a knife. This was done with a real eye from a real corpse.

This movie is quite pornographic when it comes to Madeline and her Johns. She also has a go with one of the other prostitutes. For some bizarre reason Tony lets her roam around the town on her "off" time. Since she is now a heroin addict, she has to come back for a fix sometime, right? With her off time she prepares for her revenge. She takes kung fu classes, rifle practice and stunt driving lessons. After finding her prostitute friend murdered she decides that it is time to strike back. All of her kill scenes are done in slow motion, quite cheesy but it fits in with this perfectly cheesy movie.

Frigga seems to be a very strong inspiration for the Daryl Hannah character in Quentin Tarintino's "Kill Bill" movies. She changes her eye patch to match her wardrobe and her mood, which is a nice touch. She is a bad ass chick getting some serious revenge from the people who literally screwed her over. This movie is packed with everything you would expect from a sleazy 70's exploitation flick, with its gratuitous sex and nudity, brutal violence and nothing but sick and twisted fun. Watch this movie with your parents.
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Not so cruel
kurciasbezdalas29 October 2008
Actually I was expecting this movie to be more violent. I was surprised of course by some violent and pornographic scenes (pornographic, not erotic, they were really showing in's and out's), but still I thought that this movie will be so violent that it would be a real challenge to watch it. It wasn't that violent but still kinda bloody. Actually I liked the plot and direction of this film. And also the actress which played Madeleine was pretty good. For those who think that this movie will be only violence and nothing else, I may assure you that this movie is much more than only violence, it's a unique revenge story which is must see for everyone.
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One of THE best exploitation films but has flaws.
kyle d16 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Sweden, 1974; Abba was not the only good thing to come out of there at that time (although that's a matter of opinion!), but also one of the most famous rape/revenge exploitation films ever made. The second film EVER to be banned in Sweden is an incredibly interesting film and one that has many people split whether they do or do not like it.

This film is an incredibly slow paced film. All of the shots last for a very long duration and everything takes its time, even when it comes to the, usually (in most other films) fast-paced, sequences these are all shown here in slow-motion. The use (or over-use) of slow-motion is one of the first things that will pop into my head with the mention of the title as I counted over 22 different shots in slow motion (all of which lasted at least about one minute). Now, I believe this is either a love or a hate thing about "THRILLER..." since it can seem very repetitive and quite dull really, but personally I Liv these slow-motion shots as they look beyond doubt magnificent and really make you go "WOW!" as does most slow-motion footage. These slow-motion shots have probably influenced many, many films since, most obviously "THE MATRIX" (1999; The Wachowski Brothers), both of which have the main character in a long leather black trench coat (which really adds to the ?uber-coolness? of the film ). As well as being incredibly slow ?paced, there is hardly any sound (music and speech are barely used) throughout the entire film! Again, this too splits many people, but, in my opinion, I believe this makes the film much more realistic (despite the slow-mo!) and believable as well as show just how brilliant the acting is (especially from the incredibly talented Christina Lindberg (Madeleine) ).

But do not be fooled, this film is not all about the slow-pace, there is one segment of the film, which is quite fast (compared to the other parts!); in which Madeleine (One Eye) speeds through town in a stolen police-car, sirens blazing, like a crazed person. In this sequence, it seems that every single car (besides the police car) explodes - even at the slightest thing! They just burst into flames! Swedish cars, eh? This again is quite stupid, but who cares, it provides a quick thrill for the audience and thats exactly what an exploitation film is supposed to be about! Which brings me nicely onto another debate; is this an exploitation film? Or is it a low-budget Art-House film? Well, I would say that it ticks the boxes for both ?genres?. Of course it has guns, violence, nudity (a lot of it), drugs, prostitution's, fighting, cheap thrills, but it is also it has many beautiful and thought-out shots (one of my favs being the shot on top of the speeding police car, between the two blaring sirens as Madeleine zooms through the town) similar to many of Stanley Kubrick?s films. Prehaps its an 'Art-House wannabe'? Now, lets talk porn! What a great opening line to a paragraph! The UNCUT edition of this film (released by Synapse) contains all the XXX (real penetration) inserts that the director used. When I read about this film, and heard about this inserts, I was expecting to see two people 'at it', but what I got instead was two people 'at it' but with the camera RIGHT UP IN THERE! I did not expect it to be that close! It is not very pleasant to see some guy's hairy parts rise up and down on your large TV screen OK, so its not pretty to look at and porn should stay in the porn genre, but isn?t that the whole point? To show just how disgusting and off putting the acts being down to young Madeleine are? I found it to really make you think just how dreadful it must be. Or is it simply Vibenius giving the audience a cheap thrill and nothing more? I don?t know. Besides that reason, this film was also banned due to the infamous eye-gauging scene. The rumours that the reason why it looked so realistic was because they actually used a real corpse were confirmed by Christina Lindberg and said it was the corpse of a young girl who had committed suicide. But when I watched it, I wasn't exactly spewing my guts out all over the room like Linda Blair.

The thing that I liked about "THRILLER..." which other infamous rape/revenge films, including "I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE" (1978; Meir Zarchi), "IRREVERSIBLE" (2002; Gaspar Noe) and even "DELIVERANCE" (1972; John Boorman) do not do, is show the rape victim training and becoming tough. In a very similar style to "ROCKY" (1976; John G. Avildsen) we see Madeleine train and grow from strength to strength ? again making this film much more believable and realistic as well as showing her true determination (after seeing her parents kill themselves upon reading a letter than supposedly Madeleine wrote but actually the boss Tony did!).

Overall, this film is not perfect and is quite flawed with many illogical things happening (for example how comes no cops pull Madeleine over when shes in the stolen police car speeding through Sweden? And where the hell did she get a horse from?!) as well as being quite slow and, possibly, boring to some people, I found this to be an excellent film with lots of style which has influenced many films (but famously Quentin Taratino's "KILL BILL" (2003; 2004), in which Daryl Hannah's character Elle Driver also has an eye-patch which is colour co-ordinated with her clothes.) and has a superb ending as well. However, the XXX porn inserts means that I could not recommended this to everyone which is a shame as it really is a great film.

So do I Liv it? Yes, siree,I Liv it! I give it 4/5 Swedish luuvs!
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Exploitation at its finest!
Human_Remains9 September 2008
"They call her 'One Eye'. She used what was left to repay every blow with her own terrible form of revenge!" I don't think I'm overstating myself that Thriller: A cruel Picture is the epitome of exploitation. A Swedish entry into the rape/revenge sub-genre that even Quentin Tarantino calls " the roughest revenge movie ever made".

A young girl is growing up in the country at a young age she is stricken mute by a sexual assault but she does fine tending the farm and living with loving parents. On her way to the city for a little time off she misses the bus and hitches a ride with a suave man in a sports car. It's not long before she is drugged and taken to his apartment. This man plans to get her hooked on heroin and turn her into a prostitute for money. She refuses at first only to have one of her eyes gouged out. Now it looks like he's succeeded but then she learns of her parents death... apparently letters have been written to them under her name that have been saying awful things about why she "ran away". These letters give her parents such heartache that they end up committing suicide. Smuggling what extra money she can get from her prostitution she soon learns to shoot,punch,kick and drive a mean getaway from paid lessons in self defense, rifle training, and race car driving. What follows is a woman on a war path killing everyone that did her wrong.

Thriller: A Cruel Picture has quite a reputation for it's XXX scenes and eye gouge (it has been confirmed that this was done on an actual corpse). It also has slow motion shot-gun blasts and karate action that is a little over-the-top. But still this film owns a place in history with other exploitation films of the 1970's.
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Super Seventies: The revenge flick! They Called Her One Eye.
Joseph P. Ulibas27 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
They Called Her One Eye (1974) was a unique entry into the revenge flick genre. A young woman (Christina Lindberg) get's hooked up with the wrong guy. She's turned out and becomes his little money maker. Her life as she knew it was over, After years of abuse and repeated rapes, she decides their only one thing she can do. Seek revenge! Using her pillow money and tips that she's earned, the vengeful woman buys the services of a couple of mercenaries and a race car driver. So, between turning tricks she learns how to shoot, fight and drive. When she masters all of these skills she puts her plan into effect.

Her targets are her employers and any trick that get's in her way. After scoring some meds from a local "pharmacutical distributor", she starts the blood shed. No one is safe from her pent of fury as she takes out anyone who gets in her way. Saving the best for last, she has special plans for her pimp. A torturous death is in store for him. Her final victim, now she can rest in peace knowing that her tormentors are dead and buried. Several cuts of this film were made ranging from P.G. to Adults Only. This highly influential film was pilfered by Quentin Tarantino for his movie KILL BILL. If you don't believe me then watch it.

Recommended for revenge flick fans.
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She's totally nuts. She should be in a nuthouse.
lastliberal10 March 2009
I glanced at a couple of Bergman films the other day, but couldn't get into them. This film shows that there is something other than Bergman out of Sweden.

I heard that this was a predecessor to Baise-moi, and I wanted to see Christina Lindberg, who I watched recently in Sex & Fury. If you are not looking for a Baise-moi type movie, then there is a R Rated version of this film called They Called Her One Eye.

I thought for a moment I was watching Bergman's The Silence, as there was no dialog. Madeliene (Christina Lindberg) never does talk in this film. Things don't move very fast either. It is excruciatingly slow.

She is taken by a scumbag (Heinz Hopf) that hooks her on heroin and has her prostitute herself after he stabbed one of her eyes out.

She gets Mondays off, and apparently, she manages to use them to learn karate, driving and shooting. Of course, she is still hooked while doing this, which stretches credulity.

The sex scenes are raw, and you do not know if she is using a double. Maybe they were just porno clips spliced into the film.

Once she is ready, she gets a shotgun, saws it off and seeks revenge. The blood effects were really pathetic. Some of the things just didn't make sense along the way. I guess that is why Bo Arne Vibenius only had a three-film career.
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Has cruelty ever been this dull?
Jonny_Numb6 January 2008
A first viewing of something as hopelessly over-hyped as "Thriller--A Cruel Picture" is a guaranteed setup for disappointment on some level--I'm just stunned that it failed to deliver on ANY level. In the opening scene, a little girl is raped by an oogy old man, is rendered mute by the experience, and develops into a Lolita-esquire teen living on her grandparents' farm; one day she misses a bus and is accosted by a well-dressed man who's really an upscale pimp; the pimp cuts out her left eye when she refuses a john, and then becomes compliant, saving up her cash for karate/shooting/self-defense lessons, weapons, and heroin (the pimp's got her hooked, you see). What should have been a rollicking descent into madness and bloody revenge is instead a film that can't decide whether it wants to play at the artsy art-house or the sleazy grindhouse. "Thriller"'s shootouts and fistfights are filmed in (extreme) slo-mo, scored to bizarre ambient music--this technique might have carried an effect if we could relate to the heroine, but since we can't, it remains a purely aesthetic device that's all about broken bones, blood spatters, and boring the audience. The characters are shallow contrivances of the plot--we are given no reason to relate to anyone, and even our heroine (despite her distinctive eye-patch and black-leather "Matrix" garb) is an empty, unlikeable cipher, which is probably "Thriller"'s greatest flaw: even the crudest of '70s revenge pics (the superior "I Spit on Your Grave" and "Ms. 45" come to mind) manage to put us on the victim's side, even if we cannot completely condone their actions. As directed by Bo A. Vibenus, "Thriller" is a film distinctive only for its heavily stylized look and emotionally detached tone; the flirtations with such outré content as drug addiction, prostitution (including some pornographic inserts), and eye-for-an-eye revenge fall flat as a result. Too bad--this really could have been something exceptional. Instead, it's the type of film '70s college students probably bragged to their friends about seeing in an attempt to look "cool."
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Fred Andersson11 September 2004
Wow! I've owned the DVD for a couple of days now and I've seen it twice. First with the superior Swedish track and then with the English track.

It's important to know that the only track worth mention is the Swedish track. There you have the great and smart dialogue and character-development that goes totally wrong in the English dub. So watch it with English subtitles. Don't be lazy, learn to read! :)

What strikes me the first when seeing the movie for the first time in a couple of years is how beautiful it is. After watching a crappy bootleg for years, this is a true revelation! Bo-Arne has clearly choose the Swedish autumn for it's staggering beauty and clear and strong colors. This is what I see every years outside my door, but this is the first time I've seen it so well presented in a movie. This is here the movie also shows it's true art-house-face. The scene with the child molester isn't sleazy (thank god for that!) or exploitive at all. It's poetic and horrible. Disgusting. When the tobacco (or just maybe 'snus') pours out if his mouth in excitement it's not just awful and grotesque, it's Swedish film-making at its best.

It's a dreamlike movie, but also very naturalistic (aka very Swedish) with stylish and impressive cinematography by Andreas Bellis. He and Bo-Arne both handles action, sex and drama with the same high quality. I think it's important not to forget the strange and surrealistic score by electro-maestro Ralph Lundsten. Like a constant wall of sound he wraps the story with unique electronic landscapes, some of them very childish and like nursery rhymes and others just...echoes and sonic vibrations/distortions.

Regaring the's great. And it looks more expensive than it is. Okey, you can't compare the car chase to the one in Bullit or Blazing Magnums, but's quite alright to be in a Swedish exploitation movie from 1973. They shot it, of course, completely without permits and a bunch of explosives and sometimes unaware extras out in the streets. The fightscene in the warehouse is unique and not very Swedish. It's more of a combination between Peckinpah and Bruce Lee, but directed by Jodorowsky!

The final is both very western AND very Jodorowsky (see, once again I can't let go of the surrealistic vision this movie has). I know, because we've asked him, that Bo-Arne had no intention to let the ending (from the shoot out in the little fishing village to the horse...) to be very Sergio Leone, but it feels a lot like a scandinavian spaghetti western (actually there's been made at least three westerns in Sweden, but we call them 'lingon-western' – Lingonberry-western).

But what makes Thriller what it is, is the actors. Christina Lindberg is PERFECT as Madeleine (in the English version, Frigga? Where came that name from?). She's cute, sexy, warm and finally very, very cold. Its a very impressive performance and her love for the character shines thru. Heinz Hopf as the sleazebag Tony is both sadistic...and very frail and weak at the same time. A coward protecting himself with bodyguards and giving people drugs. Heinz was one of swedens best character actors and I'm happy to see him in this movie. Another strong performance is by Per-Axel Arosenius as Madeleines father. A sensitive and intelligent portrait of a loving father. Per-Axel got a brutal ending to his life when he took suicide by burning himself to death in 1981.

This is my favorite Swedish movie ever, together with Man on the roof, and it deserves a good DVD-release like this. Hopefully there will be more releases, maybe with the participation of Bo-Arne and Christina.

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Yep -- it is cruel
Sam Panico22 October 2017
The poster says it all: "The movie that has no limits of evil." When people talk about grimy, evil pictures, this is the one they're talking about. Quentin Tarantino called this "the roughest revenge movie ever," and that's including I Spit on Your Grave and Last House on the Left, one would suppose. After all, Elle Driver in his Kill Bill directly takes her look from this film, with outfits that match her eyepatch.

Frigga (Christina Lindberg, Teenage Playthings, Exposed) is a simple farm girl who's been silent since she was a kid, thanks to being raped. Her loving parents spend all of their money to try and get her voice back with speech therapy. One day, she misses the bus and ends up going on a date with Tony, who seems like a real ladykiller. Turns out he is — he gets her hooked on heroin, telling her that she needs it every 48 hours if she wants to live. To pay him back, she has to become a prostitute for him.

Frigga — possibly named for Odin's wife (and Odin is one eyed, after all) — cannot be tamed. She escapes twice and scars the face of the first john who tries to sleep with her. As punishment, Tony takes her eye — a scene shot with the cadaver of a young girl who had committed suicide. Remember what I said above — this film takes no prisoners.

Tony has sent a letter home to her parents, telling them she hated them and would never be back. In answer, they both commit suicide. Add in the death of Frigga's only friend, fellow prostitute Sally, and it's time for revenge. She starts charging more for whatever her clients want to do to her, all so that on every Monday, she can learn the skills she'll need to kill everyone and everything.

What follows is a leather overcoat clad Lindberg — a gorgeous creature of pure hatred and violence — destroying everything. Even two cops who try and take her out are decimated in slow motion in a tour de force scene that Rob Zombie could only dream of shooting — sound dropped out, violence given to full display. The film flirts with art while keeping both feet mired in exploitation — there's a lesbian scene and in some versions, a hardcore insert — but gorgeous shots of police sirens with electronic music droning mark this as just as much masterpiece as masturbatory fodder.

Finally, after killing all of her clients, Frigga challenges Tony to a duel. Getting the better of him, she buries him in a hole, ties a rope around his neck and like some cowboy in a spaghetti western, makes a horse run away, killing him. She watches, mute, as the man who ruined her life finally dies. What can be left after this? She has become Shiiva, Death, the destroyer of worlds. Her family destroyed. Her friend dead. Even the police, who could not help her, dead at her hand. She drives the cop car into the distance, sirens blaring as wind and sound fills the soundtrack.

This isn't a movie for everybody. But it's why I love movies — it's an experience. I can't recommend it to everyone, but if you're here and reading this, you know that you'll probably love it. Heck — you've probably already seen it.

Lindberg — who claims herself that she was a horrible actress — goes all in here. She injected water and saline into her veins for the heroin shots. She learned how to fight. Hell, she got arrested after practicing shooting her shotgun — in public no less. She owns the screen in this.

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Disturbing slice of Swedish exploitation
Leofwine_draca6 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE is a notorious exploitation film from Sweden which has been championed by none other than Quentin Tarantino. It's a rape-revenge thriller that sees an innocent young girl forced into becoming a heroin addict before being sold into prostitution. However, she trains in the martial arts and also learns how to use various weapons, which allows her to take revenge on the men (and women) who previously abused her.

I have to admit that rape revenge films aren't really my cup of tea as I find them far too sleazy to enjoy and THRILLER is certainly one of the sleaziest. It's a grim and slow-paced exercise in fear and humiliation that seems to reveal in violence meted out towards women in much the same way as LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, for example. As a film, it's not particularly proficient, with the drawn-out pace making it tough to sit through and plenty of dumb dialogue to drag it down further.

Christina Lindberg makes something of an iconic impression as the lead character although she plays it subdued for the most part, which I think works. The supporting cast are nothing to write home about. The violence, when it eventually arrives, is played out in extreme slow motion, which I thought was an effective way to do it. Unfortunately there's far too much in the way of depravity to get through first, including hardcore sex scenes and a scene involving a scalpel and an eyeball which I understand was performed on a real corpse. Yeah, it's not really the sort of film you can say you enjoyed, although you will want to take a cold shower afterwards.
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A directorial, original and arty revenge flick
PimpinAinttEasy9 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Dear Bo Arne Vibenius,

I think Thriller - A Cruel Picture is a very original and arty revenge film. I am not surprised Tarantino liked it. It is such a directorial film.

I enjoyed the extensive use of point of view shots to emphasize Frigga's (Christina Lindberg's) childhood consciousness and even her muddled psyche as a grown up dealing with abuse. The point of view shots were used mostly when she interacted with strange men. The film begins on a farm in a rural Sweden. But the film's pace does not pick up once the action movies to a city.

The languid pace is a bit of a turn off. The narration is very matter of fact. You could call it a very cold revenge procedural - right from training to execution. The coldness could be due to Frigga's (interesting name!) jaded mental state. The penetration scenes were also a turn off because I am not a fan of hardcore.

The repetitive slow motion action scenes were quite well done. Especially the Karate fight with the two policemen. But the film could have really used a memorable background score. The prog-rock (?) background score did not have any impact on the slow motion scenes.

Christina Lindberg is superb as the mute lady. She conveys so much pain, hurt and rage through her facial expressions. Definitely one of the greatest performances by an actress in a B-movie.

It was an innovative effort for a low budget film, Bo.

Best Regards, Pimpin.

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Exploitation phenomenon.
punishmentpark7 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I've seen both Synapse versions now. The 'yellow' one I saw a couple of years ago and I loved it, and finally last night I watched the 'red' one. And that last one has the porn in it. I'm pretty sure I like the yellow one better, even though I don't want to bash the red one; there is merit to bringing the awful truth of Madeleine(Frigga)'s situation to the screen in such a way.

Otherwise 'Thriller - en grym film' is a hypnotic work, like a gruesome fairy-tale, that oozes serenity and simplicity, though it has certain amateurish aspects (acting, settings) that could take some of the fun out of it for some - I did hardly mind. Beautiful shots of rural Sweden or an city park contrast with the simple, grayish bedroom where Madeleine is tortured and abused. The main villain is a smooth operator, but his modus operandi is all the more evil and unscrupulous; the way he tears M. away from her family, causing them to commit suicide is as dark as things can get; comeuppance is inevitable... or maybe unfulfilling? Or simply the least she must do?

Some aspects are rather unbelievable, such as the opportunities that M. gets to be trained in karate, shooting and driving, but in a way adds to the hyper-reality that 'Thriller' is shrouded in. The same goes for the fact that at some point every car that is passed, must crash and burn - that almost becomes funny at some point. But that fun is over when the last scene plays out; one of the best final revenge scenes I have ever seen. The camera-work in some of the (revenge) scenes was done with a rare sort of camera, provided by the Swedish army if I remember correctly from the 'yellow' edition, and that adds yet again to the hypnotic atmosphere of the film; even if those scenes would not be so great if they were played at normal speed and some acting in it isn't exactly fantastic...

And last but probably most: the presence of the one-eyed little woman in a black leather jacket holding that giant shotgun: Christina Lindberg as Madeleine is epic, epic, epic.

A big 9 out of 10.
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